Texas Judge Finalizes $200M-Plus Award in Lexus Defects Case

October 31, 2018

A final judgment upholds a jury award of more than $200 million to a Dallas-area family against Toyota over what they alleged were defective front seats in their Lexus sedan.

State District Judge Dale Tillery entered the final judgment on Oct. 26 in Dallas in the lawsuit brought by Benjamin and Kristi Reavis. The Dallas County jury returned its verdict Aug. 17.

The couple alleged that in a September 2016 rear-end collision defects caused their front seat backs on their two young children seated in child safety seats behind them. Their attorney said the 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son suffered severe head trauma and other injuries.

Reuters reported in August that the jury awarded damages of $242 million to the Dallas family after finding that defects in the family’s Lexus sedan caused injuries to their two children during a rear-end collision.

The verdict included more than $143.6 million in punitive damages after jurors agreed that the actions of Lexus-maker Toyota Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Sales amounted to gross negligence, according to the Reuters report.

The $242 million award included:

  • $92M in compensatory damages for the two children for past and future medical care, loss of earning capacity, physical impairment, pain & anguish.
    $6 million for parents Ben and Kristi Reavis for past and future mental anguish.

The apportionment of the above damages was:

  • Toyota Motor Corp. 90 percent
    Toyota Motor Sales 5 percent
    Honda Pilot driver who caused the rear-end collision 5 percent

The $143,600,400 in punitive damages for gross negligence was apportioned as follows:

  • Toyota Motor Corp.: $129,600,000
    Toyota Motor Sales: $14,000,400

In a statement, Toyota said it would ask the judge or, if necessary, an appeals court for a new trial.

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